Nicola Mining Inc. [NIM-TSXV] said Tuesday October 30 that it has commenced an extensive reverse circulation drilling program on waste piles at its 100%-owned New Craigmont Project, which is located in the Highland Valley porphyry district near Merritt, British Columbia.
The company said it is also planning to drill on the 3060 Ore Portal, an area that is known to contain material excavated from the underground workings of the former Craigmont Mine.
Nicola shares were active on the news, easing 4.76% or $0.005 to 10 cents on volume of over 1 million. The shares are trading in a 52-week range of $0.095 and 21 cents.
The 10,000-hectare property contains the past-producing Craigmont Mine, which produced 34 million tonnes, grading 1.3% copper between 1961 and 1982 from underground and open pit operations. It ranked as one of North America’s highest grading copper mines.
Having successfully consolidated ownership of the property in 2015, Nicola is now focused on establishing near-mine resources in the vicinity of those historic operations in a bid to establish a new resource estimate.
The 3060 Portal and approximately 80-90 million tonnes of material in the waste piles surround the historical Craigmont pit, which is located 3 km southeast of Merritt, BC. In addition to reverse circulation drilling of the waste piles, the company is currently conducting a diamond drilling program to actively explore a mineralized halo that is known to exist around the pit.
This current program is part of Nicola’s second phase of reverse circulation (RC) drilling on both the waste piles and the 3060 portal and is designed as a follow-up to positive results during the Phase 1 RC programs completed in the spring of 2018, and 2017 Ore Portal program.
In addition to the 49 holes drilled between 2017 and early 2018, Nicola has planned an additional 60 RC holes focused on the south waste piles and Ore Portal to test the economic viability of the crushed rock.
During the summer of 2017, Nicola executed the first RC drilling program adjacent to the 3060 Ore Portal. The results confirmed significant copper grades. However, the program was suspended due to the poor air quality from forest fire smoke.
Nicola said it will complete the drilling at the Ore Portal that was left unfinished in 2017. It will then include these results in a potential combined resource estimate with the waste piles.
In addition to analyzing copper grades, the company said it will also review magnetite grades at the site. Approximately a decade after the Craigmont Copper Mine closed in 1982, mining operations of magnetite began on approximately 27,000 tonnes of historic tailings. Magnetite production began in 1993 and continued until 2014.
At that time Nicola took over sole usage of the tailings.
Nicola has held full ownership of all the historic Craigmont crown grants, claims, mine leases and mine permits since November 2015.
Nicola Mining has also planned to resume custom milling operations at it processing plant on the property.